I’m usually pretty good at coming up with solutions to technological dilemmas with my children, but I have to admit I’m a bit stumped this time, and feel like the problem reflects more on me being too uptight and less on my daughter’s ability to be engaged, part of our group, and maintain her relationship with her boyfriend back home.
Let me set the scene: My kids get a two week spring break, so in the spirit of doing something fun and different, I rented a place on the beach in Southern California. Fun, and space for us to spread out, and we’ve even added some additional players: my sister, her daughter and her daughter’s young family (including a two year old). So far, so good. Everyone gets along, my kids adore their little second-cousin, etc.
But every evening so far my 15yo teen spends much of her attention on her phone, incessantly texting her boyfriend back home for hours on end. What they talk about I don’t know, but I surmise it’s mutually reinforced wry commentary on the banality of life (I envision: “whatcha doing?” “nothing. what you doing?” “nothing” “bored” “bored 2” “miss you” etc)
There is an element of rudeness to someone being in a social situation and texting their friend instead of participating, but that’s not really what’s happening because we are tending to playing with our own devices too, iPads, iPhone games, books, etc. So what she’s not doing is sitting in the corner texting while the rest of us are at the table playing a game or similar.
Still, it bugs me. But is it just me wanting everyone to be that mythic nuclear family where we do sit around and play games and talk because we’re all in the same space together — a highly unusual occurrence, I’ll add — and am I just so old school that I should just “get over it” and be glad she was willing to travel with us in the first place?
I should add that during the day when we’re doing things — read “at the beach” — she’s completely present and doesn’t even bring her cellphone with us to the shoreline, so it’s not like she’s completely unplugged and acting as if she’d rather be home hanging out with him than here at the beach with us.
So what’s your advice, my friends? What’s a smart and reasonable way to address this situation of too much evening texting? Or should I just chill the heck out and let her do what she wants when we’re on holiday?